17. February 2016

Forum Information

Understanding the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and its Implications for Governance
Scientific Forum, 15.-16.06.2016 Osnabrück, Germany

Water, food and energy security are inter-related, but these linkages are seldom understood and even less often acted upon in the development of governance strategies. The relevance of the connections between them for securing basic services under conditions of change and the functioning of ecosystems has not been explored systematically. As a result, siloed strategies continue to prevail, degrading and wasting natural resources, reproducing unequal access, with adverse, long-term impacts on the environment and reduced socio-ecological resilience.

The scientific forum “Understanding the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and its Implications for Governance“ will address challenges and key research gaps in dealing with the WEF nexus. It is financially supported by the German Science Foundation (DFG). Special attention will be devoted to supporting exchange between senior and early career researchers to nurture the establishment of an interdisciplinary community of WEF nexus scholars. Hence the forum is designed to allow for much discussion and interactions. As follow-up activity an academy supporting early career researchers to develop research proposals for submission to the DFG will be organized later this year (4-8 October 2016).


One product of the forum will be a special issue in an international scientific journal. Furthermore it is envisaged to submit a proposal to the DFG for a Priority Research Program on the WEF Nexus.

The forum is also supported by the Sustainable Water Future Program (SWFP) a core research program linked to the global change program Future Earth. The forum will offer an opportunity to become actively engaged in SWFP that is currently establishing its international research network.

Workshops will deepen the exchange on themes of high relevance for the nexus.  They will comprise presentations from both senior and early career researchers and leave sufficient time for discussion to identify research challenges and innovative research approaches.

Envisaged workshop themes:

  • Integrated Modelling and complex interdependencies
  • Governance challenges and innovative governance instruments
  • Assessment of risks affecting security in the nexus
  • Network approaches to study the nexus
  • Social-ecological systems and unsustainability traps
  • Typical nexus “syndromes” (e.g. Biofuels, Large Dams)
  • The role of ecosystem services in understanding and governing the nexus
  • Socio-technical systems as leverage points for sustainability transformation
  • The role of the nexus in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals